“Giving” in to social pressure


Journal Article

© 2016 Elsevier Inc. We develop a theory of charitable giving in which donors feel social pressure from a direct solicitation. We show that equilibrium donations are concentrated around a social norm. Despite a higher level of the public good, relatively poor and/or low altruism givers fare worse under social pressure and would avoid the solicitor at a cost. Aggregate donor welfare improves to the extent that the added social motive alleviates the underprovision of the public good; however, overprovision may result. Our theory therefore predicts a light-handed regulation for charitable solicitations, which is consistent with their exemption from the popular Do Not Call list in the U.S. We further show that contrary to pure altruism, a more equal income distribution may produce more of the public good. In fundraising campaigns where a social norm is not apparent, one may emerge endogenously if donors are not too heterogeneous.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Name-Correa, AJ; Yildirim, H

Published Date

  • September 1, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 99 /

Start / End Page

  • 99 - 116

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1090-2473

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0899-8256

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.geb.2016.07.006

Citation Source

  • Scopus